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Silent No Longer: Iraqi People Reveal the Past
American Forces Press Service ^ | June 26, 2003 | Linda D. Kozaryn

Posted on 06/27/2003 11:31:27 AM PDT by Ragtime Cowgirl

A skull surrounded by pieces of clothing lies in the sand of a mass grave located at grid coordinate 385466846670 in Iraq. U.S. Marine Corps photo by Lance Cpl. Christopher Graham Reign of Terror (Root Page)
"In 1979, immediately upon coming to power, Saddam Hussein silenced all political opposition in Iraq and converted his one-party state into a cult of personality. Over the more than 20 years since then, his regime systematically executed, tortured, imprisoned, raped, terrorized and repressed Iraqi people."
Iraq: A Population Silenced,
Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor
Silent No Longer: Iraqi People Reveal the Past
By Linda D. Kozaryn / American Forces Press Service
     WASHINGTON, June 26, 2003 – For the first time in decades, the Iraqi people can talk openly about what happened during Saddam Hussein’s regime.
      They’re talking, and the world is listening.
      Each day, U.S. and coalition officials in Iraq hear more and more about the atrocities that occurred over the last two decades, according to Sandra Hodgkinson, the Coalition Provisional Authority’s director of human rights. Whether they’re Kurdish, Sunni, Shiia or Christian, she said, “it seems like every Iraqi has a story.”
     “In some way, the regime affected their day-to-day life, either someone they knew, or loved or cared about,” Hodgkinson said this week during a telephone interview from her office in Baghdad. While many Iraqis seek out the Human Rights Office, she said, others talk to coalition military forces, nongovernmental organizations staff or provisional authority personnel.
     “Everybody that is interacting with the local Iraqis is inundated with these complaints,” Hodgkinson said.
Q: (question) Why are so many Iraqis missing? answer

      Each day, several Iraqi employees at the Human Rights Office in Baghdad take summaries of past atrocities from Iraqi victims.
     “When they want to come in and tell their story to somebody,” Hodgkinson said, “we allow them to sit down in an office and talk about what happened, or we give them a summary of past abuse form that they can fill out.” One purpose of the form, she said, “is to get information that may be useful at some point in a future, Iraqi-led, justice system for crimes against humanity.”
      The Iraqis describe missing loved ones. They talk of torture and executions. They tell where the bodies are buried.
     “To date, we have had reports of over 80 mass graves, and we have confirmed the existence of over 20 where we’re sure that it is a mass grave, that there are bodies in there,” Hodgkinson said.
      The human rights specialist is from the
State Department’s Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights and Labor. She is also a Navy Reserve judge advocate general officer with the International and Operational Law Unit at the Pentagon. She’s worked as a military prosecutor and an instructor in crimes against humanity issues through the International Military Education and Training program.
     Under the Iraqi Liberation Act of 1988, defense officials provided some war crimes and crimes against humanity training at the Defense Institute of International Legal Studies in Newport, R.I., for the Iraqi opposition. "I was the course coordinator and an instructor for that program, which early on, got me working with Iraqi opposition in areas related to crimes against humanity, human rights protection and how to investigate and preserve evidence of these crimes.”
      In her civilian capacity, Hodgkinson has participated in the State Department’s Future of Iraq Project, and about two years ago, she spoke at a Human Rights and Transitional Justice seminar arranged by the Iraqi National Congress in London. In February she began working with the Defense Department’s Office of Reconstruction and Humanitarian Assistance, deploying first to Kuwait and then to Baghdad on March 16.

"Saddam Hussein became the first leader in the world to systematically and aggressively gas his own people. Between 1983 and 1988 alone, he murdered more than 30,000 Iraqi citizens with mustard gas and nerve agents. Several international organizations claim that he killed more than 60,000 Iraqi citizens with chemicals, including large numbers of women and children. During his two-year Anfal campaign against the Kurdish population, Saddam Hussein used these chemical weapons against more than 40 villages."
Iraq: A Population Silenced, Bureau of Democracy,
Human Rights, and Labor

Mass Grave of al-Mawhawil
May 15, 2003
By Sandy Hodgkinson, Director of Human Rights
     We turned off the highway and landed in a traffic jam of vehicles on a long dirt road leading to a grave site containing thousands of skeletal remains of Iraqis left from Saddam’s brutal regime. Vehicles of all shapes and sizes were traveling to and from this site, in the hopes of finding some information about the fate of their loved ones, who had allegedly disappeared during the uprising of March, 1991. Local witnesses describe this site as one where the victims were either shot or buried alive, and they had been waiting for 12 years to be able to give these victims a proper burial.
      Walking through the grave site, approximately 1,000 women, men, boys and families all together were screaming, and crying with some clutching bags containing the bones and shreds of clothing of their now-identified loved ones. Human remains were in plastic bags around the site already identified and tagged with white slips of paper containing personal information, until claimed by their family members.
      The on-scene commander advised us that there had been 500-750 Iraqis on site digging when we learned of the site. To assist these grieving families, the local military unit had assembled a tent, with water and tables and chairs for Iraqis on site to increase their comfort during the grieving process.
Photo, caption below.

Torture Methods in Iraq  
  • Medical experimentation
  • Beatings
  • Crucifixion
  • Hammering nails into the fingers and hands
  • Amputating the penis or breasts with an electric carving knife
  • Spraying insecticides into a victim’s eyes
  • Branding with a hot iron
  • Committing rape while the victim’s spouse is forced to watch
  • Pouring boiling water into a rectum
  • Nailing the tongue to a wooden board
  • Extracting teeth with pliers
  • Using bees and scorpions to sting naked children in front of their parents
      With all her experiences over the years, Hodgkinson has heard numerous stories about what was going on inside Iraq. Even so, she said, “you can’t possibly imagine what it would have been like to be an Iraqi under Saddam’s regime until you actually walk out to one of these sites and see the marks of bulldozing at the bottom of the pit from 10, 15 years ago -- where they specifically dug a grave just to throw bodies in it. And to see bullet holes in skulls. To see blindfolds over their eyes. To see ligatures holding their hands behind their back, and handcuffs, and to hear the local witnesses’ stories.”
     Visiting the gravesites has been overwhelming, Hodgkinson said, particularly where the local people have rushed out to the site, trying to find any remains of their missing loved ones.
     “It is just heart-wrenching to see them sobbing, lying there -- men, women, children, entire families -- just trying to find something to help them reconcile with what they’ve been through. It’s really, really very moving. It’s proof that everything we’ve been hearing about for years is absolutely true and possibly at an even higher level than what we’d expected.”
Q: (question) What is a mass grave? answer

      Coalition officials have been getting daily reports of mass graves in neighborhoods, villages and towns throughout Iraq, Hodgkinson said. Military officials do preliminary investigations and determine whether further inquiry is warranted. In some cases, coalition forces secure the site, pending further examination.
     “We try to verify as quickly as possible whether or not there is, in fact, a mass grave, and what’s the likelihood that something could happen to the grave in the short term, if we don’t maintain a presence or cordon it off,” she said.
     “For the past six weeks now, we’ve had a forensic assessment team in from the United Kingdom,” she added. “We brought them in to help not only do initial site surveys and initial assessments, but also to help advise us on our overall graves strategy.”
      The team has been creating “forensic protocols,” she noted, “which are standards that every forensic team that comes in to assist in the exhumation process will have to live by in all the graves around the country. It was most important to make sure that this is done in a systematic way so that the identifications that are done and the evidence that is pulled from these graves can actually be useful in the future.”
      The British team has done initial assessments at many of the graves in the Baghdad area, Hodgkinson said. Coalition officials will use the team’s input to help prioritize where they’ll send full forensic exhumation teams.
     “We’ve been contacting many of our coalition partners to explore the possibility of getting donor exhumation teams,” she said. “Given the sophisticated level of expertise necessary to do this, we’re going to need as many forensic teams as possible.”

      Local leaders inform us that Dr. Rafid al-Husseini, in charge of digging for remains, had been planning this exhumation for some time and that they did not want soldiers to interfere with this or guard the site.
      Dr. Rafid’s small team came in originally in search of their own family members, and eventually formed a volunteer team of 60 members to assist others in locating family members. He believed they have dug up the remains of approximately 3,000 Iraqis and identified approximately 1,500 of them.
      Dr. Rafid believed that there may be anywhere from 11,000 to 14,000 sets of remains in this site. To identify bodies, these volunteers relied on identification cards (which there were many of), uniforms, types of clothing, jewelry and any other possible identifying features. Once identified, names were called out over a megaphone to alert family members on site, and lists provided to the local press for publication.
      When the relatives would come to claim a set of remains, they signed a Death Certificate before removing them for reburial. Even in the midst of overwhelming grief, the Iraqis created a system for identification and reburial in the hopes of restoring some dignity to their loved ones, and in the hopes of moving on.
      Today, at this site, there are new graves for those individuals who were not properly identified. These are being guarded by a local guard force. Many people in this town of Mahawil wonder where the other 10,000- 12,000 bodies from their region missing from the 1991 uprising are buried.

Related Links
Decades of Death
Iraq: A Population Silenced
Chemical Weapons Used in Halabja
Saddam's Brutality Against the Iraqi People
Repression of the Shi'a

Iraqi Crimes Against Humanity

The Plight of Iraqi Women
Just Who Is Saddam Hussein? 
Iraq's Biological Warfare Agents 
Iraq's Use of Chemical Weapons 
U.S. State Dept. on Iraq 


TOPICS: Crime/Corruption; Culture/Society; Extended News; Foreign Affairs; Front Page News; News/Current Events; War on Terror
KEYWORDS: bushdoctrineunfold; iraq; massgraves; warlist
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1 posted on 06/27/2003 11:31:27 AM PDT by Ragtime Cowgirl
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To: Ernest_at_the_Beach
2 posted on 06/27/2003 12:04:17 PM PDT by Libertarianize the GOP (Ideas have consequences)
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To: Libertarianize the GOP; Ragtime Cowgirl; *Bush Doctrine Unfold; *war_list; W.O.T.; Dog Gone; ...
Thank you, thank you both!

This is a must read!

Bush Doctrine Unfolds :

To find all articles tagged or indexed using Bush Doctrine Unfold , click below:
  click here >>> Bush Doctrine Unfold <<< click here  
(To view all FR Bump Lists, click here)

3 posted on 06/27/2003 12:11:04 PM PDT by Ernest_at_the_Beach (Iran Mullahs will feel the heat from our Iraq victory!)
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To: Ragtime Cowgirl
The truth is sharper than the sword ! I am proud to be an American !
4 posted on 06/27/2003 12:12:53 PM PDT by OREALLY
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To: Ragtime Cowgirl
Bump for later
5 posted on 06/27/2003 12:16:14 PM PDT by boxerblues (God bless the 101st and keep them safe)
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To: Ragtime Cowgirl
And not one WMD.
6 posted on 06/27/2003 12:16:38 PM PDT by VRWC_minion (Opinions posted on Free Republic are those of the individual posters and most are right)
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To: Ragtime Cowgirl
We ought to be shouting this from the rooftops, doing more interviews with people out of there, and rubbing Koffi Anan's nose in the whole mess.


7 posted on 06/27/2003 12:20:01 PM PDT by tiamat ("Just a Bronze-Age Gal, Trapped in a Techno World!")
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To: Laura
Come on in. The water's fine.
8 posted on 06/27/2003 12:24:59 PM PDT by far sider
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To: Ragtime Cowgirl
This is not, I repeat, not WMD evidence. It does not deserve to be on the evening news. That is all.
9 posted on 06/27/2003 12:27:53 PM PDT by AD from SpringBay
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To: tiamat
Yet, there are still Iraqis who are killing our soldiers for liberating them. One wonders what people are thinking.
10 posted on 06/27/2003 2:02:57 PM PDT by arjay
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To: Ragtime Cowgirl; Ernest_at_the_Beach
What a terrific article, loads of info here! Thanks RC for posting it--Ernest, thanks for the ping!
11 posted on 06/27/2003 2:10:34 PM PDT by MizSterious (Support whirled peas!)
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To: arjay
Round 'em up and hang 'em!

Traditional when you conquer people and they just don't accept it!
You never heard Julius Ceaser saying, "Well, gosh, it's great that we "liberated" Britania..... Now can't we all just get along?"

They will not "get it" unless thier collective fannies get kicked each and everytime an incident happens. And if check-points and things upset the locals, that's just tough. Maybe they will start turning in the Bad Guys.


12 posted on 06/27/2003 2:13:31 PM PDT by tiamat ("Just a Bronze-Age Gal, Trapped in a Techno World!")
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To: VRWC_minion
Saddam Hussein was a weapon of mass destruction!
13 posted on 06/27/2003 2:49:47 PM PDT by tob2
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To: Ragtime Cowgirl
14 posted on 06/27/2003 4:21:39 PM PDT by Stultis
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To: Ernest_at_the_Beach; All
From a former weapon's inspector:

*The Politics of Mass Destruction  ^

Tales of Saddam's Brutality
[lengthy, graphic, White House websight]


Re. post-embed reporting from Iraq: here, here, here, here, here, here, here , and here.

15 posted on 06/28/2003 7:03:35 AM PDT by Ragtime Cowgirl (There has been a lot of action lately-a lot of it INSTIGATED by Coalition forces.-Gen Myers, Jun 24)
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To: Ragtime Cowgirl
Why doesn't the World Socialism Movement, aka UN and DNC, care about this Stalin grade slaughter?

They only care that a RINO president and congress can take credit for a just cause, and get switch voters to worry that we've entered a guerilla war, aka 800# gorilla pan-Islamic assassin offensive.

Assassins are literally historic hashish loaded muslims' sucker punch murder trademark, for at least 50 generations.

Until our society recognizes that Islamists have declared asymmetric war against you, me, and our chilren's children, we will worry about another Viet Nam. However, we must worry about assassins who have already formed their 5th column cells in our own neighborhoods.

These mass graves are proof that Islamist, Arab, and UN leadership cares more about deal$ among leader$hip colleague$ than mere slaughter. See Africa run by Africans; I wonder...Kofi A is also African.
16 posted on 06/28/2003 7:38:03 AM PDT by SevenDaysInMay (Federal judges and justices serve for periods of good behavior, not life. Article III sec. 1)
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To: All
Dem. appeasers are once again condemning our CIC for taking a tough stand against Saddam loyalists who committed such atrocities - and who continue to shoot at our troops. "Bring 'em on!" is offensive to Dems. who continue to ignore the mass graves and mock the efforts of those who risked their lives to free the Iraqi people.
17 posted on 07/03/2003 6:37:18 PM PDT by Ragtime Cowgirl (We're in a global war on terrorism..If you want to call that a quagmire, do it. I don't.*Rummy* 6-30)
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To: Ragtime Cowgirl
Plaster this report on Charlie Rangel's office door.
18 posted on 07/29/2003 6:18:36 PM PDT by Nachum
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To: Nachum
Yes, and add the more detailed report (see #15) from the White House.

Our elected leaders, and mainstream reporters, should have been sharing Saddam's history with the world long before anti-American activist groups like ANSWER were allowed to raise a peep in the town square.

My latest rant:

aIraqis Offering More Cooperation, But Still Fear Hussein ['objective' press aids Saddam (mine)]
      - DoD | 7/29/03 | Gerry J. Gilmore

19 posted on 07/29/2003 7:01:49 PM PDT by Ragtime Cowgirl ("I don't find myself in any quandry. I'm a soldier." ~ Lt. Gen. Ricardo Sanchez, Commander, July 23)
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To: DolceAmara; Treasa
20 posted on 07/29/2003 7:04:58 PM PDT by jla
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